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December 12, 1976 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-12-12

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Sunddy

mcagczrne

inside:
page four-
week in review
page five-books

Number 13

Editor: Stephen Hersh

Associate Editors: Ann Marie Lipinski, Elaine Fletcher

December 12, 1976

Rape
DARKNESS ENVELOPES Ann -Ar-
bor and a "Night Owl Bus"
waits at curbside on South Uni-
versity near the libraries. Every
half hour, through the early mor-
ning, a new "Owl" will stay parked
until it is bursting with home-
bound women who prefer going
the circuitous bus route to walk-
ing home. It's not that these wom-
en abhor the cold -- rather they
fear for their safety. No one wants
to be' the next rape victim. -
The rash of rapes and assaults
on women which-has plagued the
city recently has put nearly ev-
eryone on alert. Police and inves-
tigators are looking for one sus-
pect believed to have committed
all the rapes reported. Meanwhile,
aware there is a rapist at large,
many women refuse to face the
night unescorted. But others, like
This article was written by Ann Ma-
rie Lipinski and Stephen Hersh, and is
based on interviews by Megan Adams
and Jane Siegel.

on campus: /dpattern returns
Court hassles entangle victims 3K-pi

those who work night shifts, have
no choice - they are forced to
head home on foot alone. The ten-
sion generated by this brand of
terror may not subside until the
rapist is apprehended. But while
the presence of such an offender
stalking the city is clearly a dan-
ger, the waning vigilance that tra-
ditionally follows a notorious sus-
pect's arrest poses a far more ser-
ious problem.
The detective in charge of the
Ann Arbor police department rape
unit, William Canada, observes
that rapes tend not, to be isolated
cases. "We'll go for quite a while
without a reported rape and then
we'll get them in streaks," he not-
ed. "If you've had one person op-
erating he will stick in one basic
area because he's had success in
that area."
But if the community's wom-

en let their guard down in the
wake of such a series of incidents,
they may be setting the scene for
the next "successful" rapist.
The Women's Crisis Center in
Ann Arbor - the first rape coun-
seling service established in this
country - has been working for
six years to educate the commun-
ity and mare, the city a hostile
environment for rapists. Part of
the impetus for setting up the Wo-
men's Crisis Center, says Julie
Hatchard, a staff member of the
new county - wide Assault Crisis
Center (ACC), was a rash of mur-
ders committed in the area in
1972 - the ".John Norman Col-
lins murders". "But part of it was
just a growing consciousness on
the part of people about the rape
problem," Itchard said.
Despite the healthy interest in

WHEN A WOMAN has been raped,
the last thing she often wants
to do is report the crime. Visions
of herself being tongue-lashed,
badgered and shamed in front of
a courtroom filled with accusing
eyes may haunt the victim, and
This story was written by Susan Ades
and Elaine Fletcher with files from Enid
Goldman, Stephen Hersh, Anne Marie
Lipinski, and Tom O'Connell.
may spark in her a fear of re-
prisal. The rape itself was bad
enough, she reasons. No need to
prolong the pain with months of
legal proceedings. Outside ofthe
fact that the assault is often physi-
cally brutal, it is almost always
emotionally scarring, so after the
rape has been committed the wom-
an may just wish to erase it from
her memory.
S 5 no maagm -ms N
'Anger is very heal-
thy in response to a
rape. Anger puts it
squarely where it be-
longs, which is on this
intruder. I think that
as a society we have to
look at these acts and
say, "Yeah, they're
wrong." And I think
that that is one really
good thing that is
happening.'
-Rape counselor
Judy Price
!4.54, . .. V. j;.v.:.a . " ,is i ~}fi

ie

for a victim

this community,, Hatcher is still
worried about failure on the part
of many individuals to take pre-
caution against rape when here
is no, immediate threat. "When
they catch him (the present sus-
pect), all concern may stop and
that's bad," she said,
Incidents of reported rape have
nearly tripled in the past five
years. Between July 1, 1975 and
June 30, 1976, 31 forcible rapes
were reported. Twenty adult males
were arrested for rape but, in a
one-year period but out of that
number, only seven cases made it
to trial and, only one man was
found guilty as charged.
Yet is is no secret that the num-
ber of actual rapes often far ex-
ceeds the number known to po-
lice. "I tend to think that they
(the statistics) are very mislead-
ing because it is a crime that is
underreported. Most people will
agree that we are in the working
stage now of trying to get people
to talk more about it," says Judy
Price, a services coordinator at the
Community Anti-Rape Effort
which recently became part of the
ACC.
The Community Anti-Rape Ef-
fort (a city-funded program start-
ed in 1975) and the Domestic Vio-
lence Task force, a county-wide
rape assistance program funded by
NOW, were the seedlings for ACC
and both are now incorporated
ito the new program. The ACC
in technically an arm of the Wash-
tenaw Community Mental Health
Centpr. It officially opened on No-
ve-nber 15.
Still, not all women who sought
heln from these community pro-
grams went on t o report their
r pes to the police, according ta
Hatchard. But there has been new,
nrogressive rape legislation passed
recently. Why are women still hes-
itant to report their cases?
Says Hatchard, "People don't

forefront of Ann Arbor's collective
consciousness. But the phenomenon
and the problems it presents for
victims and potential victims alike
are by no ieans new. Still, rape
remains to an extent a mysteri-
ous, veiled subject.
There are certain emotional re-
actions which many rape victims
share = for example, guilt feel-
ingsror unwillingness toconfront
the experience. For anyone deal-
ing with a rape experience, a
familiarity with these reactions
could be useful - for a better
understanding of what they may
be going through, and for a feel-
ing of solidarity with other vic-
tims.
The subject of rape should come
out of the closet.
* * *
LESLIE, A UNIVERSITY student,
was raped by a casual acquaint-
ance of hers whom she was visit-
ing in his room in a campus co-
op. She joined him in his room
while a group of his friends were
there, partying. When the rest of
his friends started to leave, Leslie
stood up to go, too, but he asked
her to stay so they could finish
the wine they had been drinking.
"I said, 'Fine,'" she recalled. "I
sat down - and suddenly, he was
all over me. I said, 'Wat a min-
ute, enough of this! I don't want
to get into this.
"And he hit me! He gave me
a good left in the jaw, and it
really hurt. So I tried to talk to
him a little bit more. And he hit
me again. After the second one
I said, 'Okay, do what you want
to do. I give up.'
"When he got . done, I asked,
'Are you finished?' And he said,
'Don't talk like that - you loved
it!' I said, 'Well, I'm sure there
are people who like that kind of
stuff, but I don't. I feel like I've
been raped.' He repeated, 'Shit, you
weren't raped. You loved It.'"
She replied, "Well, if you're fin-
ished with me, I'll just get dressed
and go home."
In the weeks following the rape,
Leslie (her name and some of the
circumstances have been changed)
confided in only one person - a
friend who had worked with the
local Women's Crisis Center. The
friend gave Leslie a telephone
number to call at the center, and
she dialed the number about a
week, after the incident. But she
was unable to reach a counselor,
there, and didn't call back.
Leslie remembers that she was
reluctant to talk about the rape
because of a vague feeling that
she may have been partially re-
sponsible for what happened. "I
wasn't quite sure," she said, "if
it was my fault, if I let it hap-

have done. I actually did what they
told you to do, which was to do
nothing. And actually, he would
have hit me again if I resisted
again. The more I thought about
it in those terms, the more it seem-
ed it was really rape. It took me
a while to convince myself of that,
and that's why I didn't report it.
I didn't want to see him again;
I didn't want to have to point
him out and describe him at the
police station."
Leslie wasn't sure at first wheth-
er she should have fought back
forcefully. "I could have defended
myself," she maintained. "I could
have hit him in the balls - I was
in a position to do it. But I was
afraid to. I was afraid that if he
recovered he would beat me, that
I wouldn't be able to get out fast

know about the changes. All they
know is what- they see in movies
ies like 'Cry Rape', and that just
doesn't go on anymore. It's not a
realistic representation of Ann Ar-
bor right now.
"The police are really wonder-
ful with rape victims," she said
"They don't handle women
the way they showed in that
movie. They ask those embarras-
sing questions very gently."
Even if the rape is reported to
the police, however, there is no
assurance the case will ever get
to courts - some women refuse to
prosecute. However, since the pas-
sage of a new rape law in Michi-
gan two years ago, more warrants
for the arrest of suspects are be-
ing issued, and warrants are the
first step in getting a case to the
bench. Previous to the institution
of the new statute, only about ten
per cent of reported rapes were be-
ing processed through the legal
system. That figure has been dou-
bled in some areas since 1974.
rTHE SURGE in legal action
against accused rapists is
largely due t a new definition of
the crime. Previously considered
a "crime of passion," rape is treat-
ed in the new law as a crime of
violence. This has changed the na-
ture of court proceedings, making
them less humiliating for the vic-
tim. Evidence concerning the-vic-
tim's past sexual conduct, which
had often been used by defense
attorneys in order to prejudice the
jury against the victim, now be-
comes admissible only under very
strict guidelines. Also, victims no
longer have to prove they had at-
tempted to physically resist the
rapist.
"It (the new law) has been ex-
tremely helpful to us," says Chief
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Jerome Farmer. "In the past the
chastity of the victim has been
an issue and the new law discour-
ages this."
But Farmer's optimism was
not boundless. "The defense al-
ways has ways of getting around
that," he noted.
The new law also states se-
,cifically that a victim's testimony
needn't be corroborated. Although
this was an unspecified principle
of the old law as well, the fact of
the matter was, prosecutors often
refused to take up a rape case un-
less there was corroborative testi-
monv.
The new law says a husband can
be prosecuted for rape of his wife
only if the couple is living apart
and one of them has already filed
for legal separation on or divorce.
But critics would like to see the

the Ann Arbor Police Records de-
partment, "Rape is one of the most
difficult cases to investigate. Usu-
ally you're not getting a complete
description. Damn few occur in
well-lighted places. The woman is
in such an emotional' state: she's
trying to get away, not concen-
trating on trying to get a descrip-
tion."
Even if the assailant can be
identified and apprehended, num-
erous problems await the prose-
cution on the way to and during
the trial.
Almost immediately after the
arrest, a preliminary investigation
of the defendant is held.
"According to the latest supreme
court ruling," says Prosecutor Far-
mer, "they (rape defendants) must
be tried within 180 days if they

But that's a near impossibility,
say experts. "There are people who
come here for the first time ten
years after their rape," says As-
sault Crisis Center education spe-
cialist Julie Hatchard. "It's been
a long time since the incident but
something may have happened to
precipitate 'the -memory and all of
a sudden they feel a need to talk
about it ... We can't ever erase
the event for the woman, but we
can be supportive and look her in
the eye and say, 'I can deal with
this problem' because her friends
and family and lover often can't."
Hatchard and other rape coui-
seling specialists stress the import-
ance of seeking emotional and le-
gal assistance following a rape, no
matter how painful discussion of
the incident may be. Police, especi-
ally in Ann Arbor, are no longer
the cigar-chomping bullies televi-
sion movies would make you ex-
pect. Many police departments now
require rape training for their of-
ficers before they are allowed to

DetectiveSergeant William Canada,
"Some of these dudes (the rape defend-
ants) aren't scared like the victim. He
can get up there, and if he's a good
talker, he, can make it out like he's
the biggest damn angel on the face of
this earth. He has the chance to get
up there and lie like hell. Perjury is
a very hard crime to prove."
have not made bond. Rape cases
are serious - so bond is usually
substantial."
This high bond policy insures
that many cases go to trial quick-
ly. "But if the guy happens to
make bond ,there's no question
these cases can be put over for a
couple of years," notes Farmer.
"And there's a tremendous advan-
tage for the defense in postponing
trials. A rape case isn't like a bot-
tle of wine that gets better as it

0

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